Tyson Foods, the US-based meat processor, has earmarked $150 million to launch its own venture capital fund. The amount represents about 25% of the total amount committed by all sources to food and agriculture startups in 2015. Ostensibly, the move is an attempt to circumvent the major Silicon Valley players in the agricultural technology sector, given Tyson’s strategic aim to shift from its commodity-meat business. But the announcement also highlights the volume of at-hand deals that industry insiders have identified. Company officials stated that funds will be directed at commercialization of protein alternatives, such as those grown from plants. Other targets may include startups focused on packaging innovation to limit food waste. The news should be encouraging for those investors who question the long development cycles sometimes seen in this entrepreneurial segment. ■
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